7 The mouths of fools are their undoing, and their lips are a snare to their very lives. 8 The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to the inmost parts. 9 One who is slack in his work is brother to one who destroys. 10 The name of the LORD is a fortified tower; the righteous run to it and are safe. 11 The wealth of the rich is their fortified city; they imagine it a wall too high to scale. 12 Before a downfall the heart is haughty, but humility comes before honour. (Prov. 18:7-12 NIV)
7 The mouths of fools are their undoing,
and their lips are a snare to their very lives.
The words of a fool are not just damaging to others they damage the fool as well. These words come from the unguarded heart. It is not a wise way to live. It is not good for life on earth or life in eternity. A fool’s words will eventually condemn him. The fool becomes entrapped by the words he speaks. When your words are untrue you have to have a good memory, otherwise the inconsistency of what you say will catch you out.
8 The words of a gossip are like choice morsels;
they go down to the inmost parts.
A gossip thrives on spreading and receiving gossip. Every gossip needs a listening audience. The audience gets enticed because they are made to believe that they are being treated to the special privilege of hearing this news. But the gossip treats everyone like that. The only way to stop a gossip is by refusing to listen. The problem with listening to gossip is that it sows a doubt in your mind about the person being gossiped against. This is what the proverb means by saying that the gossip goes down to the inmost parts. You can never erase it from your mind.
9 One who is slack in his work is brother to one who destroys.
The lazy person is like the person who destroys. Whatever work the lazy person is charged with doing they are not carrying it out. If they work for a business and are being paid, they are not delivering what they were contracted to do. That is destructive. They belong to the same group who would wilfully set out to destroy.
10 The name of the LORD is a fortified tower;
the righteous run to it and are safe.
The name of the Lord stands for the Lord Himself. The name of the Lord is the revelation of who He is. He can be a bit depressing reading about fools and their destructive behaviour. It makes us think of the stronghold that fools have of the news, social attitudes, and government. So, it is refreshing to realise that for the Christian there is a safe place. Our Lord is a fortified and strong tower, and we can run into it and be safe. Safe in the awareness that unrighteousness will one day stop. All the ungodly propaganda and trend-setting philosophies will be exposed for the damaging lies that they are.
11 The wealth of the rich is their fortified city;
they imagine it a wall too high to scale.
There can be no doubt that wealth shelters many people from harms that prove fatal to those in poverty. However, it is not the ultimate shelter that the rich believe it to be. Wealth can be stolen, markets can collapse, or fraudulent people can acquire the wealth. It is imagined security, and it is not a high wall that no one can scale.
12 Before a downfall the heart is haughty,
but humility comes before honour.
The haughty person believes themselves to be safe. They are high-minded thinking they are in a high tower or surrounded by a high wall that cannot be scaled. Their high-mindedness and over self-confidence make up the haughty mindset that leads to their downfall. The wise person is honest about their limitations and open about their weakness and frailty, and that leads to a humble estimation of oneself. God will exalt such a person.
Lord we take refuge in You because You are our strong and fortified tower. We thank You that there is safety in this life and eternity because we are hidden in Christ. Lord, encourage our hearts today with this truth, because we ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.